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I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (23 May 2015)

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Top picks

7% of all retracted papers between 1980 and 2011 were by one guy. Here’s how science’s biggest faker was caught. By Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus

A much-publicised Science paper claiming that “short conversations could change people’s minds on same-sex marriage” turns out to be faked. Here’s the paper that outed the fraud, a look at what went wrong, and an interview with Donald Green—the PI on the study, who was not involved in the fabrication.

How to Unlearn a Disease. Fascinating piece by Kelly Clancy

Meet the athlete who built his own knee, because he just wanted to ski again. Superb story by Rose Eveleth

A really interesting story about how rhinos conquered the world (and then lost it). Fun facts everywhere. By Chris Baraniuk.

“The mythical stories we tell about our heroes are always more romantic and often more palatable than the truth. But in science, at least, they are destructive.” By Leonard Mlodinow on the oversimplification of discovery.

An astonishing case of snake mimicry

Tourists tend to take pictures of the same famous spots. Google is now using them to make timelapse videos.

 

Science/news/writing

Famed surgeon commits misconduct in reports of synthetic windpipe transplants

‘The incentives to publish today are corrupting the scientific literature and the media that covers it’

David Dobbs weighs up the promises and hype of big genomics and introduces the term MAGOTs.

Scientist sample the ocean and find tiny additions to the tree of life

All My Worst Mistakes: A brain surgeon reflects on the anatomy of error

Don’t think of it as a “parasite“. Think of it as a… tiara. With legs. That won’t come off. And drinks blood

Brain implant allows paralysed man to sip a beer at his own pace

Science is often flawed. It’s time we embraced that. And here’s how it goes wrong.

Emily Graslie & Corrie Moreau talk about dissecting ants to study their gut microbes

10 real-life unicorns (kind of)

Scientists name top 10 new species of 2015, which will now fight for our amuseme… what? They won’t? But I… oh.

New record-holder for oldest stone tools: 3.3 million years old, predating Homo.

Myths & delusions about intranasal oxytocin.

Erika Engelhaupt deals with her rat problem, and triggers flymaggedon.

Government says four cancer charities are shams

From the Dept of D’oh: Many Probiotics Taken for Celiac Disease Contain Gluten

Can Hackers Commit the Perfect Murder By Sabotaging an Artificial Pancreas?

US science academies to develop guidelines for human-genome editing.

Top 10 Design Flaws in the Human Body, and some potential, er, “fixes”.

This panda microbiome study is pretty poor; note Jonathan Eisen’s comments

#GirlsWithToys: This is what real scientists look like

People who wear and design prosthetics are rethinking the form of our species.

How we made an octopus-inspired surgical robot using coffee

The legend of the hairy trout – and the awful cotton mold that makes this happen

Death by horn-lock” is apparently a thing that can (rarely) happen.

To help firms deal with angry customers, one company is building a very, very angry robot.

Machine-Learning Algorithm Mines Rap Lyrics, Then Writes Its Own”

Ossinodus crawled out of the water some 330 million years ago. Then it broke its leg.

Ahh, beautiful Svalbard. Where they have a doomsday vault containing the world’s most important seeds

The latest dispatch from the Department of Irreproducible Science: it’s the antibodies, guv.

“A protein in the blood of young mice that seemed to rejuvenate older animals may do the opposite.” YOLO.

On Alzheimer’s and video games. Scientists spout nonsense, PR enables them, journalists enable PR, bloggers forced to correct, and round & round we go.

The truth about giant tortoises. (They’re actually normal tortoises but close up)

Meet Sharon, who lives with DTD – a brain that can’t make maps

Human Ingenuity Takes On Cancer’s Darwinian Ways

Will synthetic biology open the door to better painkillers, moonshine heroin, or both?

Autonomous trucks glow blue to let other drivers know that it’s a computer at the wheels

 

Heh/wow/huh

Tigers do indeed hunt at night.” Pop songs fact-checked by professors.

Works better if you read it aloud and unleash a kind of muffled snort at the end of every single paragraph.

Inside Nature’s Giants, but with a T.rex, & featuring some of the best palaeontologists around. This is going to be great!

Placebo Blocker

YOINK. Amazing reactions of perched Pied Flycatcher catching passing fly

21 Science Fails. Some of these are pretty tame, but oh my god, #7!!

Ducks getting duck lanes by a London canal  

 

Internet/journalism/society

“He hears himself getting up…, playing ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’ and then there’s a half-hour of snoring.”

These two Diablo III players stole virtual armour and gold—and got prosecuted IRL

Monsanto is funding a ‘reporting boot camp’ for food writers.

“It doesn’t get any easier, whether or not you have a Pulitzer Prize, right?”

One grows faint at the very thought of “discussion” & “critique” other such barbarous activities currently occurring on “Twitter“. Won’t someone think of the precious social norms?

Game of Thrones Can Go F*** Itself; Or, Why Rape Is Different From Other Onscreen Violence